Wednesday 7 December 2016

Does having children change you as a person and as a politician?

In the aftermath of the Andrea Leadsom controversy, various politicians give their views to Niamh Horan

Published 17/07/2016 | 02:30

Mary Mitchell O'Connor. Picture By David Conachy
Mary Mitchell O'Connor. Picture By David Conachy

Kate O'Connell: I had two children by the time I entered politics, and I had my third last October. Having children does not give you a monopoly on caring about the future. In some ways, having children can be a real asset to your political experience - for instance, if you have a child with special needs or developmental difficulties, it can sharpen your focus when legislating regarding others in similar circumstances. In other ways, the logistical nightmare of scheduling the lives of three children, alongside committee meetings and the Dáil schedule for the week, can be an exercise in political/parental gymnastics.

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Now that I'm a TD, I am duty-bound to represent the will of the people who elected me. You make sacrifices as a parent all the time for the good of your kids - and I think, perhaps politics could benefit from that sort of approach.

Politics, like parenting, is a vocation. Sometimes it's loud and dirty and you wonder why you ever bothered - and then other days everything goes to plan, you manage to help someone out, and you feel like it was all worthwhile.

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